A few days ago I posted a picture which looked like Bob may have had a black eye. I then got talking to mahoni about black-eye fic, which led to today, when instead of one of the challenges I should have been writing I wrote black-eye fic instead.
In all honestly this was supposed to be a five things story, but I like it where it ends and as these cliches were about having fun writing, well, I left it at its natural end.
This is for my cliche_bingo prompt, physical violence.
Bob doesn't consider himself a violent guy. Sure, if someone gets in his face he'll strike back, but not in a way deliberately intended to hurt. It's just how he is. Except, of course, when he does strike back to hurt, like when someone is attacking one of his friends. In those moments every protective instinct Bob possesses roar to the surface and he'll do anything to keep safe those that he loves.
Bob hunches further inside his hoodie, it's been raining and the floor glistens wetly as he walks, one of his sneakers squeaks with each step and he frowns and wiggles his toes, trying to feel if there are any holes in the sole.
"You'd better get out of here you fucking faggot freak!"
Bob can't see who's shouting, but he knows it can't be good and his skin prickles in an immediate sensation of wrong. Taking his hands out of his hoodie pocket he hurries forward, keeping his footsteps deliberately light.
"We don't want you here! Pansy-assed pervert!"
The shouting is louder now, the tone menacing, different to the shouting they've all become used to, where people yell to hear the sound of their own voice. It makes Bob tense, his heart racing as he turns the corner. Sees the bus still parked at the back of the venue, but instead of the security that should be there, all there is is Gerard. He's standing between the bus entrance and the doors into the club, hands out in a pacifying gesture and eyes wide as he says something to the crowd of men that surround him.
There's at least five, their faces twisted with hate and Gerard's not backing down, just keeps talking, jet black hair falling into his heavily made-up eyes, every movement he makes screaming fear despite the outward sense of calm. Furious, at the lack of security, at people who think this kind of shit is okay, Bob runs forward, yells, "Get away from him!"
Bob's yell has an immediate effect, one of the men pulling back his hand to throw a vicious punch. Bob sees Gerard go down, landing heavily on his knees, before getting straight back up, blood pouring from his nose as he throws himself into the unfair fight. Cursing Gerard, for being stupid, for being brave, for not fucking running, Bob launches himself at the nearest person who's not Gerard. Throws punches, hands clenched into fists as he hits hard and fast.
The thump of skin against skin, liquid splattering against his face, shouts that are nothing but meaningless noise. Bob's head slammed back, Gerard, fighting two men at once.
Then suddenly, someone grabbing him around the waist and pulling him free, yelling, "Bob, get inside. Now!"
Panting for breath, Bob sees that security have arrived at last, one of them almost holding Gerard up as he's taken inside.
Furious, Bob gets in a last punch then staggers back as he's propelled toward the door and pushed inside, where he finds Gerard slumped against the wall, mouth open as he draws in air, blood still dripping from his nose, his teeth red, a bruise already colouring the side of his face. It makes Bob want to go back outside, get in more punches because no one gets to hurt Gerard like that -- no one.
"Bob." Gerard winces as he straightens, and he reaches out and wraps his hand around Bob's wrist -- Gerard's knuckles are red and his fingers are smeared with blood -- Bob takes a step toward the door, but Gerard shakes his head. "They're not worth it. Come on, you need something for your eye."
"My eye?" Bob reaches up and gently presses his fingertips under his eye, and it's as if every hurt has been suddenly exposed, his face and hands throbbing, his ribs nothing but burning pain.
"You're going to have one hell of a black-eye," Gerard says, examining Bob's face. "We'll have to make it a theme, bruised and broken, we can use make-up on Mikey, Frank and Ray."
"As long as Frank gets a cast on his leg, it'll keep the fucker still," Bob says, willing to play along with Gerard's self-distraction as he steers him away from the door and the sound of approaching sirens.
"That would work." Gerard walks in silence then, still gripping Bob's wrist, then slows, stops as they approach the room they've been using to relax before the shows, says softly. "All I wanted to do was get something from the bus."
Bob pulls Gerard close, says, "I know."
Bob's wrists ache, the ice packs he's resting them on doing nothing for the pain. Frustrated, he throws them against the wall, and they collide with a thud, sliding to the ground. Slumping back against the pile of pillows, Bob puts his hands on his stomach and closes his eyes. He hates his wrists so much right now he can't even look at them.
Seconds later and his phones beeps, announcing a message. Growling under his breath, Bob winces as he grabs it off the bed and thumbs at the buttons, reading the message, U ok?. Bob throws down his phone, yells, "You could have fucking asked in person."
He turns his head, watching the connecting door to the next room. It opens, revealing Mikey dressed ready for bed, his hair damp and wearing spotted pajamas pants and a t-shirt. "I heard a thump."
"So you decided to text? What if I'd been dying or something? Thrashing my last on the floor."
Mikey shrugs, looking unconcerned. "It didn't sound like a dying thump. Not that high, unless you'd been caught by some kind malicious spirit that was dragging you to the ceiling." He looks up, as if checking for marks. "Is that what happened?"
"The fuck? No," Bob says, and tucks up his legs when Mikey wanders into the room and climbs onto the bed, crawling to lie next to Bob and sharing the same pillow.
"Good." Mikey's eyes are wide, and he stares at Bob. "I don't know how to banish ceiling killing ghosts."
Bob shouldn't ask, he knows he shouldn't, but he still says, "And you know how to banish other ghosts?"
"I looked it up; before." Mikey shivers slightly, and Bob wonders what before provokes the reaction, with Mikey it could be one of many. "I learned protection spells."
"You should be careful with that shit," Bob says, because even if he doesn't believe in ghosts, Mikey does, and Bob's not willing to lose him again.
"I am, promise," Mikey says, making a cross over his heart. "Do you think ET was a boy or a girl?"
It's not a question Bob expected, except in the way Bob's spent years with his band, where random questions are a constant of each day. "He was a boy."
"But how do you know?" Mikey says, and he turns on his side and tucks his hand under his cheek. "ET had the whole androgynous thing going on."
"I don't know if that applies to aliens, he was kind of blob shaped."
"He had arms and legs," Mikey protests. "And long fucking fingers."
"You've got long fucking fingers," Bob says, grinning. "Does that make you an alien?"
Mikey holds up his hand. "If I'm an alien Gee's one, too."
Bob snorts. "Case fucking closed."
"I'll tell him you said that," Mikey says, but he's laughing as he speaks and Bob knows even if Mikey did tell Gerard he'd take it as some kind of compliment. "Do you want to watch some TV?"
"It depends," Bob says, long time wary of some of Mikey's shows. "No zombies."
"What about killer sharks?"
Bob considers, killer sharks are kind of cool and there'll be a bonus of freaking Mikey out about swimming in the ocean. He nods, says, "Sure."
"I'll get the remote." Mikey clambers off the bed, picking up the remote that's been left of top of the TV. Pressing buttons, he walks back to bed, throwing the remote onto Bob's chest. "You can find the sharks."
"You're all heart."
"I know," Mikey says, and puts one knee on the bed, which is when he slips and falls forward, somehow managing to twist and elbow Bob full force in the face. "Shit, I'm sorry."
Hand over his eye, Bob looks up at Mikey who's kneeling over him on the bed, looking stricken. "It's okay."
Mikey gently touches Bob's face. "I hurt you."
"You're so fucking skinny it was like being elbowed by a pipe-cleaner." Bob pulls back his hand, blinking away the tears and hating how Mikey's gone from relaxed to stressed within seconds. "I thought we were watching sharks?"
"I should go get you some ice." Mikey makes to get off the bed, and Bob grabs hold, keeping him in place.
"No, you should stay here."
Mikey still looks uncertain, but eventually he nods and lies back down, curling against Bob.
Bob rests his arm on Mikey's side and settles down to watch killer sharks, for now the pain in his wrists forgotten.
The show is going to hell, fast, and Bob keeps his attention divided between his drums and watching his band. They're all standing at the front of the stage, playing on and defiant against the rain of bottles thrown their way. It makes Bob proud to see them, Ray shredding, head down despite the debris that lands close to his feet. Gerard, screaming into the microphone and leaning out toward the crowd, flinging out his song against the chorus of increasingly loud boos. Mikey, standing his ground and playing on despite the way he's got his chin tucked down to his chest and shoulders drawn in, and Frank, flinging himself to the floor and stalking the stage, his playing frantic but still perfect.
It also makes Bob fucking scared, and he flinches with each near miss that he sees.
Bob ends the song with a last bang of his drums, holding his sticks tightly in one hand. Below, Gerard is talking to the crowd, but he's being drowned out by the resounding cat-calls, but all that does is provoke Gerard even further, and Bob knows this isn't going to end well. He sits forward, attention solely on Gerard as he stands at the very edge of the stage, snarling, his arms outstretched and head back as if he's basking in the hate thrown his way.
More bottles land, their contents spilling in spreading pools of liquid, some that look suspiciously like piss. Most are aimed at Gerard but one goes wide, hitting Mikey hard in the chest, making him stagger back. Furious, Bob jumps to his feet, dropping his sticks to the ground. They roll, falling off the riser and Bob knows this is it, because of everyone to hit, Mikey's the one that's protected the most.
In a flash of images Bob sees Gerard turn to Mikey, concerned as he runs close, their heads together as the bottles increase in volume, bouncing against the stage. Seconds and Frank and Ray are there too, guitars hanging at their sides as they move in close. Whispered words and reassuring touches and when they look up it's obvious they're furious, and Bob's almost running, trying to get to the front. He dodges security, torn between getting to Gerard who's attempting to shield Mikey while spitting expletives at the audience and Frank, who's climbed on top of an amp, his face red and his guitar flung to the ground as he yells.
"You want to throw bottles? Throw them at me mother-fuckers, take your best shot! I dare you!"
Any specific reply is lost in a sheer wall of noise and Bob's grabbing for Frank, trying to pull him to safety. He winces when a bottle clips his shoulder and glares out at the audience, so angry all he wants to do is jump down and throw punches.
"Keep trying mother-fuckers! Keep trying!" Frank yells and as much as Bob wants to be up there, screaming his own rage, he knows this isn't the time. Grabbing hold of Frank around the waist, Bob pulls him down.
"We're leaving, come on."
"Like hell I am," Frank says, spittle landing against Bob's face. "They don't get to throw shit at us."
"There's going to be a fucking riot if we stay," Bob says, looking out at the sea of unfriendly faces. A line of security guards are forming in front of the barrier but stray bottles are still being thrown, and as Bob watches, one flies directly toward Frank. Instantly, Bob barges him out of the way, and then collapses to his knees, his hand pressed against his eye, the bottle left spinning on the ground.
"Bob. Fuck, Bob. Are you okay?" Frank's kneeling too, his hands against Bob's face.
"I'm fine," Bob grits out, his head pounding and when he moves the world wobbles, making him sway and brace one hand against the floor.
"Looks like it," Frank says, moving so he's between Bob and the audience. "Some help, please."
Frank's yell is piercing and Bob screws shut his eyes, or eye, because the one on the right feels swollen, the area surrounding it hot and throbbing.
"You're a fucking idiot. A brain-dead fucking idiot," Frank says, his touch still gentle against the side of Bob's face. "What the hell did you think you were doing?"
"Saving your sorry ass," Bob mutters, and despite the hostile crowd, the fact that they're kneeling in what looks like a puddle of piss, Frank leans in and gives Bob a quick hug.
"I can look after myself, moron. Don't do that again."
"Fine," Bob says, and knows he'd do it again in an instant.
Bob hasn't always loved video games. He liked them, sure, but he didn't have the time to spend hours practicing that perfect power up attack or to discover the sheer joy in blasting away at an orc. Then he joined My Chem, which led to endless time on tour buses and the realization that video games were a great way to wile away tedious hours.
Bob especially loves playing video games with Ray. He loves that Ray always tries to play nice, frowning at the thought of cheating, but at the same time, is so competitive that he always ends up throwing himself into the game. Gaze intense, fingers flying as he leans forward, as if he can physically affect the action on screen by force of will alone.
Out of all the games they play, it's Guitar Hero that Bob loves the most.
"I can't believe you scored more than me," Ray says. He's standing in the middle of the lounge, legs spread, the plastic guitar hanging against his chest, looking dejected as he stares at the TV.
Bob grins and wiggles his fingers, his own guitar propped against the couch. "What can I say? I'm obviously a guitar genius."
"But I know that song, I play it all the time." Frowning, Ray takes hold of the guitar and presses the button for a replay. "Best of three?"
"If you want to be schooled again, sure," Bob says, picking up his own guitar. Slipping the strap over his shoulder he takes a position next to Ray, close enough he can easily see the TV but far enough to the side he won't get hit by Ray's lunges, which are as inevitable as the faces he pulls when he gets into his playing. "Ready."
Ray nods, and starts the game. Immediately the notes start flying up the screen, and this is what Bob does, keeping a rhythm based on a song, and sure, this is different to a drum track but similar enough that he finds it easy to press buttons in time with the notes he sees on screen.
Red. Yellow. Green green green. Blue blue green yellow. Bob's caught in the progression of notes, easily keeping time and this time Ray's perfect too, putting everything into the song. Scores tied, Bob's attention is solely on the screen, when out of the corner of his eye, he sees Ray sticks out his tongue and shake his head as he grinds against the small plastic guitar, which is too much for Bob, and he has to bite back a laugh, his fingers faltering at the very end of the song.
"Yes! I win!" Ray yells, flinging out his arms. Unfortunately, he's still holding onto the guitar, and it impacts solidly against Bob's face
"Oh, fuck!" Tearing off the guitar Ray drops it on the couch and grabs hold of Bob's hand, trying to pull it away from his face. "Let me see."
"It's fine," Bob says, looking through one watery eye, he keeps his hand pressed against the other and while he can't feel blood his cheekbone and the bridge of his nose are already throbbing.
"It was an accident, I'm sorry," Ray says, looking so horrified that Bob hastens to reassure him.
"I know." Bob moves his hand, blinking against the fuzziness.
"You should get that checked, I'll go phone for someone," Ray says, but Bob grabs him before he can move away.
"I'm fine. Promise." Using his fingers, Bob rubs away the tears under his eye and picks up Ray's guitar, handing it over. "Rematch."
They get through ten more games before Gerard stumbles out of the bunk area, he's wearing pajamas, his eyes half-closed as he makes for the coffee machine, pouring out a mug despite it being the dregs of the jug. Taking a long drink, he leans against the counter, swaying with the movement of the bus, and finally looks toward Bob and Ray.
"Morning. What the fuck did you do to your eye?" Unmindful of the game in progress, Gerard steps in front of Ray and stares at Bob's face.
"I beat Ray and he hit me with his guitar," Bob says, and tries hard not to smile at Ray's horrified expression.
"I didn't! It was an accident."
Gerard reaches up, pressing his fingertips gently under Bob's eye before looking at Ray. "Violence is never the right answer."
"I didn't hit him on purpose!"
"Hit who?" There's a thump from the bunks and Frank appears, fully dressed with his hair sticking up in tufts at one side. "Who's been fighting?"
Bob steps a little closer to Gerard, says solemnly, "Ray. He hit me with the plastic guitar."
Ray throws up his hands. "I did not hit him. Well I did. But not on purpose."
"That's a fucking impressive black-eye," Frank says, whistling under his breath. "You look bad-ass."
"I always look bad-ass," Bob says, trying to keep a straight face as Gerard turns to Ray.
"You need to stop being so competitive. It's only a game, it's not Bob's fault he's better than you."
Ray runs his hands through his hair, making it stick out even more as he looks at Bob. "You need to stop saying that, they're believeing you."
Bob grins, making sure Gerard doesn't see, then jumps when Frank yells, "Mikey! Get your lazy ass out of bed and come see Bob's eye."
"I hate you all." Ray sits, clutching the guitar against his chest as Mikey appears still wrapped in his blanket, squinting as he stumbles forward, the blanket slithering against the floor.
"I was asleep," Mikey grumbles, and takes the mug out of Gerard's hand, draining it with one gulp. "What do you want?"
"Ray hit Bob in the face with a guitar," Gerard says, sounding disapproving. He wraps an arm around Mikey, letting him lean against him as Frank runs back for Mikey's glasses and slips them on his face.
"That's not cool," Mikey says sadly, and he wanders over to Bob, peering at his face. "Want me to kick his ass?"
Bob looks at Mikey, in his cat-print pajama pants and over-sized hoodie, his eyes caked in yesterday's make-up and can barely keep in his laughter. "That's okay, I think he knows what he did was bad."
"Good," Mikey says, and leans in, brushing a kiss against Bob's cheek. "A kiss to make it better."
This time Bob does laugh. He fucking loves his band.